Jewish Museum in Berlin

The museum building was designed by Daniel Libeskind

The ultra modern Jewish Museum building in Berlin is intended to be in the form of a deconstructed Star of David, as though it has been hit by lightning. The only windows are the angular slits that you see on the sides of the building. The surface of the building is covered with polished metal facing. There is no door into the exhibits; entry is through a tunnel from the Baroque building next door, which is shown in the photograph below.

The contrast between the old building, shown in the photo below, and the new modern one illustrates the vast differance in thinking between the Nazis and the Jews. Hitler would have called this new building "degenerate" architecture.

Entrance to the Jüdisches Museum Berlin at Lindenstrasse 14

Entry to the Jewish Museum is through the Baroque building, shown in the photo above, which was formerly Berlin's Superior court. The Jewish Museum was originally an annex of the Berlin Museum in the former court building, which is called the Kolliegenhaus. The Berlin Museum was moved back to its original home, and the Jewish Museum formally opened here as a separate museum in October 2001.

The exhibits of the museum are in the adjacent modern building

Jewish Museum is the modern building on the left

After purchasing a ticket inside the old building, visitors are required to have all their bags or purses X-rayed at the door. Visitors are then required to check all backpacks, purses, and camera bags, although photography is permitted.

Entrance to the new modern building is downstairs and through a tunnel. For tourists, there is only one exit from the building, through the old building, shown in the top photo above. Two German police officers were standing guard outside the building when I visited in the fall of 2002.

Stone columns filled with dirt with trees growing out of them

Inside the museum is a hallway, called the "axis of Exile," leading to the stone garden outside, which features 49 columns filled with dirt and planted with miniature trees, as shown in the photo above. There are 7 rows of 7 columns. Forty-eight of the columns represent the year 1948 when Israel was founded and the 49th column represents Berlin. Entry to the stone garden is only from inside the museum and there is no exit, so one must go back through the corridor to the exit in the old building next to the new modern building.

Close-up of the stone stelae, planted with trees


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This page was last updated on September 20, 2009